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A Research and Documentation Primer

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-09-26 20:23
An Introduction to Research & Documentation

By Euriol of Lothian, O.L., O.P.

Please don’t run away! I know that Research & Documentation may scare many of you. No need to fear, I know it is a bit frightening… like a young child coming face to face with a junkyard dog. But if you give me a chance, perhaps we might be able to make this journey less intimidating and more enjoyable. Believe me, this dog will not bite.

Take a deep breath. You alright? Ready to take your first step? No need to worry, I’m here beside you to help you on your way.

I cannot recall how many times I might see something and think to myself “That is so amazing, I wish I could learn how to….”. We are very fortunate in the current modern age that we have so much information at our disposal. Sometimes it is too much information, and we don’t know where to start. The purpose of this article is to offer guidelines, suggestions really, on where you might start your own research journey and how to document it to a desired audience (e.g. classroom notes, newsletter articles, competition documentation for judges).

Research vs. Documentation

What is the difference between Research and Documentation? Research is the investigation of a subject to discover or revise information on the subject. Documentation is an artifact that is derived from the research. Research can include looking at primary, secondary and tertiary sources of information including expert analysis and opinion as well as practical hands-on experience. Examples of research may include the following:

  • Online articles and pictures
  • Personal attempt to create an item that is the subject of your research
  • Books, Magazines and Periodicals (Printed and Online)
  • Viewing a painting contemporary to the time period of an item (secondary source)
  • Archaeological notes from a university publication (expert analysis & opinion)
  • Examining an item on display at a museum (primary source)

Many of us are not fortunate to have access to many primary & secondary sources of information, but most of us have access to online articles and pictures as well as our own personal experience in attempting to create an item.

How far you go with your research is completely a personal choice, but sometimes when you start following the breadcrumbs of information, you might not anticipate where that journey might lead you.


Now that we have made the decision to start researching a subject, where to begin? There are several starting points at your disposal.

Do you recall where you first heard or saw something about the subject you want to research? Perhaps it was at a class? Perhaps you saw someone wearing or working with the subject? Go to these individuals, and strike up a conversation about the subject. I can tell you that people really do enjoy talking about subjects that are of interest to them. Ask them if they have any information of how you can learn more about the subject and get their contact information.

Perhaps the subject was something you learned about while watching a TV show, movie, or some other video. Perhaps it was an article online or in a magazine.

You had to learn about the existence of the subject somewhere; if you can. make a note of where you first learned about it.

Additional starting points may be:

  • Search engine (i.e. Google)
  • Wikipedia
  • Online Communities for the Subject (i.e. Facebook or Email Groups)
  • SCA Arts & Sciences Websites
  • Personal websites by Amateur Scholars

As you begin your research you also want to make sure you are keeping some sort of notes of your research. These notes are to help you keep a record of the sources you investigated and the information you learned from these sources. Pick a method of keeping notes that is most comfortable for you. Some methods that may be used are:

  • A blog or personal website
  • A notebook or journal
  • An electronic notepad (Word Document, One Note)
  • Idea board (Pinterest)
  • Email folder

Below are some samples of a note entries:

Type Book Title Harvest of the Cold Months ISBN 9780571275328 Information Learned Ice was used to cool wine in Italy during the 16th century.


Type Online Article Title The Garden of St. Francis Website http://www.medievalhistories.com/the-garden-of-st-francis-formed-a-contrast-to-the-semi-urban-cultivated-landscape-of-13th-century-italy/ Information Learned The garden was specifically embellished with an inner sanctum – a smaller garden – meant to hold a flower-garden, uniquely kept to provide olfactory and visual pleasures


Type Personal Experience Title How to Crack Honey without Thermometer Date June 14, 2017 Information Learned I was finally able to get the honey to get hot enough that in cracked like peanut brittle when the nucato was cooled. You will get a whiff of smoke as the honey is boiling, and then immediately take it off the heat. Reminder, not to put the nuts nor spices into the honey while it is being heated, otherwise the spices and nuts will burn. Documentation

Documentation can be as simple as taking all your notes and putting them together in a manner that is directed for a specific audience. There are several different types of documentation you can create based on your research. Examples of documentation can include the following:

  • An article for a newsletter or a blog
  • Class notes
  • How-to guide
  • An article for a magazine
  • A periodical issue
  • Documentation for a competition

Knowing your audience can help you determine the type of documentation to create. There are templates available for creating documentation. I also suggest having someone not knowledgeable in the subject matter review your documentation so anything that might not be clear can be identified and addressed.

Some of the details you might consider discussing in your documentation are as follows:

  • Introduction
    • Introduce the reader to the subject and set their expectations for what they might gain or learn from the document
    • What about this subject has inspired you to research it?
  • Historical background
    • Tell the reader about the subject and how it relates in context to a time period or through several time periods
  • Materials, Processes, Tools & Techniques
    • If the subject is an item that can be crafted, discuss the materials, processes, tools and techniques used to make the item.
    • Discuss any differences between historical practices and how you made the item.
  • Supporting your Research
    • For further information – Give the reader information on where they could learn more, this could include your contact information.
    • Footnotes or Endnotes – Give credit where credit is due by supporting what you have learned by where you learned it from.
    • Bibliography – Now you have all your notes, you can create a bibliography based on all the information you have gather.

Thank you for taking the time to let me guide you on these first steps to Research and Documentation. I have only scratched the surface on these topics. Hopefully it is not as scary as it was once before. If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact me at euriol@yahoo.com. For your convenience, I have many links on various articles on research and documentation on my website at:


Categories: SCA news sites

How to Make A Point… or 12

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-09-26 17:05

By Laird Coinneach Mac an Leigh

Points are the short (generally a foot long) ties used by Elizabethans for many clothing purposes: attaching sleeves to doublets, holding jerkins closed, and lacing doublets to hosen, among others.

During that time period, points were sold in bundles of a dozen. From this we may deduce they were a “manufactured” item, not something made to order for each customer. Many Scadians use short shoelaces or bits of ribbon for points, but here is a way to make them.

Tools and Materials. All photos by THFool Dagonell Collingwood of Emerald Lake.

I make my points from brass tubing and braided cotton cord. It’s really quite simple and results in handsome points (if I do say so myself) that don’t break the bank.

Start with a length of small brass tubing. I have used 3/16” tubing with good results. While 5/32” works, I found it difficult to insert the cord. Cut the tubing into approximately 1” lengths, two for each point you want to make. These are your aglets.

If you decide to use the whole length of tubing (it’s commonly sold in three-foot lengths) you may want to cut the last two lengths in half; any errors in the lengths of the aglets will accumulate at the end of the tubing, and cutting the last two aglets in half will result in one point per batch having shorter but even tips.

Cutting aglets with a tubing cutter

The best tool for cutting the tubing is, surprise, surprise, a tubing cutter. You can also use a hacksaw and a mitre box, but that will leave you with rough ends that need to be smoothed with a file or sandpaper, with no guarantee of a square cut, unlike the tubing cutter.

Measuring the cord

Once the aglets are cut, it’s time to cut the cord. I use braided cotton cord such as Venetian blind cord, about 9/64” in diameter. Cut about a one-foot length and pull the core from the braid.

Pulling the core

Roll the cut end between your fingers and carefully push it into an aglet. You can ease the aglet onto the cord by twisting and pushing, and you may find waxing the end of the cord helpful.

Inserting the cord into the aglet

Once the end of the cord is even with the other end of the aglet, pinch the aglet with a crimping tool such as those used for connecting terminals to small wires.

Make sure the end of the cord is even with the aglet

Crimp near the cord end of the aglet, then repeat the process for the other end of the cord.

Crimp the aglet

Congratulations! You have made your first point. Now all you need to do is repeat the process until you have all the points you need.

You can also use different materials for the cord. Period portraiture often shows ribbons with aglets used as points. You can do this simply by substituting half- or three-quarter-inch ribbon for the braided cord. Lucet cord would also work, but you may need to use a different diameter tubing; take a sample of your lucet cord to the craft store and find tubing that fits. I do not recommend using leather lace; I have found that crimping leather crushes the fibers and causes the aglets to break off.

Categories: SCA news sites

Possible Viking boat grave found in downtown Trondheim

History Blog - Mon, 2017-09-25 22:40

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of what appears to be a Viking boat grave under the market square in central Trondheim, Norway. In the final days of the excavation, the team of archaeologists from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) recognized a boat-shaped feature in the soil even though there was no visible wood and the site had been repeatedly disturbed by later construction which pockmarked it with postholes and pits.

Further excavation revealed that there was no wood left to be found. It has long since rotted away leaving only the imprint of the boat, corroded rusty lumps and the a few barely preserved nails. Those meager features were sufficient for archaeologists to identify them as parts of a boat. It was at least four meters (13 feet) long and was placed in a north-south orientation.

Two long bones were also found, which is how we know this was probably a boat burial. They were in very poor condition, however, and only DNA testing can ascertain conclusively whether the bones are human. A piece of sheet bronze found leaning against one of the bones is likely a personal belonging interred with the deceased as a grave good. The very few other artifacts that have been discovered seem to be personal objects as well.

Dating is tricky. The team unearthed a small fragment of a spoon and of a key in one of the later postholes dug into what was once the middle of the boat. They can’t be sure these pieces are from the grave, but if they are, then they can loosely date the boat burial from the 7th to the 10th century. This is the first boat burial from this period discovered in downtown Trondheim.

The location away from today’s harbor and the fjord suggests that the boat grave dates from the late Iron Age, or perhaps the early Viking Age.

– It is likely a boat that has been dug down into the ground and been used as a coffin for the dead. There has also probably been a burial mound over the boat and grave, says NIKU’s Knut Paasche, a specialist in early boats.

He believes that the boat type is similar to an Åfjord boat, which has historically been a common sight along the Trøndelag coast.

– This type of boat is relatively flat in the bottom midship. The boat can also be flat-bottomed as it is intended to go into shallow waters on the river Nidelven.

Excavations are over for the season and there are no current plans to explore the site further.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Pennsic 46: Annual A&S Display

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-09-25 18:40

By THL Elska á Fjárfelli

Hannah’s art at the Display. All photos by Elska.

August 6 marked the 20th annual display of the talents and knowledge of the Known World’s artisans and craftspeople at the Pennsic War.

As in previous years, the variety and scope of work was amazing! From the tiny beaded flowers by Lady B’Gen van der Sterren of the Middle Kingdom, the intricately detailed Elsa snowflake jewelry box by Fredis Sjona of the Kingdom of Atlantia, and the delectably edible sugarpaste playing cards by Baroness Tatiana Ivanovna, if you could not make it to this years’ display, make sure to mark it down for next year!

While the A&S Display is not a competition, this year’s display also featured A&S consultation tables. Each entrant could voluntarily request feedback from practiced judges to help prepare for the higher degree of expectations that happen at more competitive levels. Even if an artisan does not plan on entering competitions, they may use these tables as great opportunities for low-key constructive feedback.

Because of several conflicting meetings, I only had a few hours to sit at my display and capture the work of my fellow artisans. While I always intend to immortalize all present, my excuses beforehand to the few I might have missed… From my documentation it seems that from the 70+ entries the Kingdom of the East had the most artisans, with a whopping 23 displays. The East was followed loosely by Atlantia and the Middle, with 11 artisans each, then Æthelmearc with nine, and a handful of dedicated Northshield, West, Ealdormere, Meridies, and Calontir artisans.

I met the following Æthelmearc artisans at the Display and enjoyed their works of art. Thank you all so much for sharing!

  • The Goldhaube Project by Freiherrin Helena Mutzhasen
  • Embroidery by Mistress Gillian Llywelyn
  • Illustration and The Memento Mori by Hannah (Youth)
  • Pick your Poison & The Hand of Glory by Lady Maggie Rue
  • Illumination by THL Mary Elizabeth Clason
  • Gems of the Cheapside Horde by Brahen Lapidario
  • Lampwork Beads by Lady Aranwen verch Rys ap Gwaiter
  • Tablet Weave warp weighted weaving by Lord Hrolfr á Fjárfelli
  • Alumen faecis, a most unusual Medieval ingredient by THL Elska á Fjárfelli

The A&S Display is an amazing spectacle of artistic talents and scientific skills. As the display is not a competition, it is possible to bring completed items as well as works-in-progress, research, and discussion material so that you may share, inspire, and enrich our Society. This way we can all see what others in our field are working on, discover a new passion, make new contacts, and most importantly, have fun! And maybe for next year, why don’t we try to show up those Easterners…

Categories: SCA news sites

Æthelmearc Fall Crown Combatants List

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2017-09-25 12:52

Greetings to the good subjects of Æthelmearc from Sophie Davenport, Silver Buccle Herald! It is my pleasure, with the permission of Their Majesties, Gareth and Juliana, to publish the names of those vying for the title of Heirs to the Throne of Æthelmearc.

Full event info can be found here.

Fall Crown Tournament, October 7, AS 52, 2017
Combatant/Consort List.  Good Luck to All!

Duke Timothy of Arindale for Duchess Gabrielle van Nijenrode

Duke Sven Gunnarsson for Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin

Duke Malcom Duncan MacEoghainn for Viscountess Rosalinde Ashworth

Duke Marcus Eisenwald for Countess Marguerite Eisenwald

Count Andreas Morgan for Countess Kallista Morgunova

Earl Thomas Byron of Haverford and Countess Ariella of Thornbury,
each for the other

Sir Maghnus an Chnoic na n’Iora for Mistress Gwendolyn the Graceful

Sir Angus MacBain for Mistress for Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon

Sir Murdoch Bayne for Baroness Rioghnach ny Rise

Sir Delphinious Aegeous for Lady Sigrid Wilhelm

Sir Alonzio of the Peacemakers for Mistress Alexandra dei Campagnella

THL Rouland of Willowbrooke and Mistress Jenna McPherson of Lion’s Tower,
each for the other

THL Freidrich Flußmüllnerin for Mistress Felicitas Flußmüllnerin

Sir Vladimir Mechnik for Lady Tomassa Isolona

Master Tigernach mac Cathail for Margareta le Sayre

Sir Arnþorr inn sterki for Lady Ceirich na Hinnsi

Sir Marek Viacheldrago for Baroness Sybilla Detwyller

Royce Bentley for Master Juan Miguel Cesar

Master Jussie Laplein for Lady Vika Vyborgskaia

Sir Beatrix Krieger and THL Thorsol Solinauga, each for the other

THL Dominic McMorland for Eleanor McMorland

THL Madison Morai for Lady Stasha Sebastyn

THL Oliver Sutton for Lady Grainne Shionnach

THL Cid Hiyo for Diane Haldie

THL Ardan Scott for Lady Deirdre Scott

Lord Marius Sittius for Lady Alita of Hartstone

Lord Wolfgang Starke for Lady Katerin Starke

Lord Cheng Tai Ren for Lady Dai Li

Lord Ulfkell Dungalson for Lady Aesa

Lord Legaire mac Connall for Lady Aurelie NicTurnear

Categories: SCA news sites


East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-09-25 11:45


The Society College of Arms runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item.

The following results are from the July 2017 Wreath and Pelican meetings.

EAST acceptances
Aurelia Colleoni a’Buccafurno. Name.

Bryniarr Ísólfsson. Device. Per pale Or and vert, two wolf’s heads erased respectant counterchanged.

Caecilia Brigans. Name and device. Azure, on a fess between two greyhounds courant argent, a greyhound courant azure.
Artist’s note: Please draw all charges larger to fill the available space.

Duncan MacMillan. Name and device. Per pale argent and sable, an owl and a bordure embattled counterchanged.
The Letter of Intent documented MacMillan solely as the header form in Black’s
Surnames of Scotland. Heralds and submitters are reminded that header forms in Black and similar books are not registerable unless they are dated or shown to be consistent with period spellings. Fortunately, Alisoun Metron Ariston documented the submitted spelling in the FamilySearch Historical Records dated to the early 17th century.

Giana di Nicholò da Firenze. Device change. Argent, a bend sinister vert, overall a wyvern erect sable.

This device is clear of the device of Charles the Traveler, Argent, a bend sinister vert,
overall a drakkar sable its sail paly gules and argent. There is now one DC for tincture of half of the overall charge, as well as one DC for its type. See the Cover Letter for a
detailed breakdown of the new precedent on ships and their sails.

The submitter’s previous device, Vert, on a pile indented argent an owl’s head cabossed sable, is released.

This was pended on the February 2017 LoAR.

Hrothgar of An Dubhaigeainn. Name.

An Dubhaigeainn is the registered name of an SCA branch. By precedent, the standard
form of the byname using this branch name is of An Dubhaigeainn, even if this is not
grammatically correct. [Violet Hughes. Alternate name Purple of An Dubhaigeainn,
9/2015 LoAR, A-East]

Hugoline the Delicate. Name and device. Per chevron azure and sable, a chevron engrailed on the lower edge, a chief invected argent.

The byname the Delicate is a reasonable marked lingua Anglica form of the attested
Middle English surnames Fine (1196) and Prymme (1286), both found in Reaney &

Leda Zipyos. Name change from Aleyd Czypsser.
Submitted as Leda Zipys, the patronymic byname needed to be put into genitive form.
With the submitter’s permission, we have changed the name to Leda Zipyos as suggestedby Ursula Palimpsest.

The submitter’s previous name, Aleyd Czypsser, is retained as an alternate name.
Although the form and the Letter of Intent were unclear, the submitter subsequently
clarified that she wished to change her name to the submitted name (Leda) and preserve her previous name (Aleyd) as an alternate.

Matthias von Würzburg. Badge. (Fieldless) On a seeblatt azure a bear rampant argent.

Michael Ballason. Name.

Michael was documented on the Letter of Intent as the submitter’s legal given name.
However, the submitter does not need to rely on the Legal Name Allowance because
ffride Joye Sans Fin found Michael as a Latinized Swedish name dated to 1518.

Ranka Sveinsdottir. Name.

Tassin Tresseaul. Name and device. Azure, in pale three suns between flaunches Or.

Submitted as Tassin Tréséol, the spelling of the byname is entirely modern. With the
submitter’s permission, we have changed the spelling of the byname to the
documented Tresseaul, dated to 1364 and 1415, found by Juliana Siren in Latin rolls
from the Convent of Saint François

Nice early 15th century French name!

Artist’s note: Please draw the flaunches issuant from the corners of the shield.

Úlfeiðr Artudóttir. Device. Per bend purpure and sable, two wolves combatant and in base a raven volant wings addorsed argent.

Úlfr Járnhauss. Name.

This name was pended on the February 2017 Letter of Acceptances and Returns for
commentary on a change from Úlflundr Járnhauss to Úlfr Járnhauss, requested by the
submitter after the Pelican decision meeting. We are pleased to register the name as

EAST returns

Brita Mairi Svensdottir. Augmentation of arms. Quarterly argent and azure, an equal-armed Celtic cross between four ospreys volant bendwise counterchanged and for augmentation on an inescutcheon surmounting the cross Or three sharks naiant conjoined in annulo azure.

This augmentation of arms is returned because the depiction of the base arms is
blazonably different from the registered arms. The original device had an elongated lower arm, which is standard for Celtic crosses. However, the base device in this submission is equal-armed, a blazonable detail that is grounds for return.

This augmentation is also returned for lack of identifiability of the charges of the
augmentation itself. Commenters had difficulty recognizing the charges on the
escutcheon as sharks, with some calling them branches, others a stag’s attire in annulo.

Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: heraldric submissions, heraldry

After many arduous labors, Hercules back in Turkey

History Blog - Sun, 2017-09-24 22:57

A Roman-era marble sarcophagus decorated with a bas relief of the Twelve Labors of Hercules on its sides has returned to Turkey after a long sojourn in the at haven of looted antiquities smuggling that is the Geneva Free Port. The saga begins on December 3rd, 2010, when the 2nd century A.D. sarcophagus was discovered in one of the Free Port warehouses by customs officials during an inventory check. Measuring 7.7 x 3.7 feet and weighing three tons, the sarcophagus is actually on the smaller side for its type, but it’s still hard to miss as a suspect antiquity, even hidden under piles of blankets and boxes.

This type of sarcophagus was a popular consumer good, produced on a large scale in workshops in Dokimenion (modern-day Iscehisar, western Turkey) from locally quarried marble in the second half of the second century. They weren’t all cookie-cutter pieces, however. Some are distinctly better than others, commissioned by people who could afford the highest reliefs, the most prized marble and the greatest sculptors. This sarcophagus is the best of all the surviving examples, with top-notch carving depth and anatomical detail. A very wealthy person must have commissioned it.

After years of being used as a pivot for the illicit trade in antiquities thanks to its no questions asked approached and tax-free Geneva warehouse complex, Switzerland was now taking a different approach. In 2003, it finally ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. In 2005 it passed a law requiring that all objects of cultural patrimony had to have verified ownership records. In 2009, a new law forced international traders in cultural goods to file complete and accurate inventories. This law had teeth too, with funding for a customs notification system and thorough inspection of the goods stashed in Free Port warehouses.

So when the sarcophagus’ so-called owner, Phoenix Ancient Art, an antiquities dealership co-owned by brothers Ali and Hicham Aboutaam who have been involved in many, many highly questionable transactions of looted artifacts, was unable to provide proper documentation in compliance with Switzerland’s more stringent regulation, the object was sequestered. Ali protested vociferously. He insisted it had belonged, like all of his loot, to his father who had bought it legally in the 1990s. He fought all attempts at restitution, and the case dragged through the courts for six years.

A joint investigation by Swiss and Turkish authorities found that the sarcophagus had likely been looted from the ancient site of Perge in Antalya during an illegal excavation in the 1970s. This was confirmed by soil and marble analyses. How it wound its way from Turkey to Switzerland remains unclear and the Aboutaam’s father Sleiman died in 1998 so he can’t answer any questions. He also can’t be prosecuted. On September 21st, 2015, a Swiss prosecutor issued an order that the sarcophagus be restituted to Turkey. The Aboutaam’s appealed twice before withdrawing the last appeal in March 2016. That left the restitution order as the final legal say in the matter, and all that was left was for the slow grind of the legal grist mill to finish its work before the piece was returned. Culture and Tourism Ministry officials in Geneva received the sarcophagus on September 13th. It was in Turkey on September 14th.

After almost seven years of legal wrangling, detective work and waiting, the Hercules sarcophagus was welcomed to its new home, the Antalya Museum, on Sunday in an unveiling ceremony presided over by Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş. It is now on display next to the Weary Herakles, a Roman copy in marble of a 4th century B.C. original bronze by the Greek sculptor Lysippos of Sikyon, which was also looted from Perge and whose torso was pried out of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts after a lengthy battle so it could be reunited with the legs already on display the museum.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unusual Bronze Age hoard found in Cumbria

History Blog - Sat, 2017-09-23 22:31

Metal detectorists in Cumbria have discovered a small Bronze Age hoard that is the first of its kind found in the county. The hoard was cached in a hole in the bedrock covered by stones. The group, small in size but large in historical significance, consists of one gold bracelet, three gold penannular lock-rings and one copper alloy cauldron fragment, all dating to the late Bronze Age. Three of the four jewelry pieces (the bracelet and two lock rings) have stains that may be corrosion or the residue of an organic material buried with them. The stains could also have been caused by something in the soil itself at the time of deposition, although if that were the case it seems like the other objects would have the same kind of staining.

The lock rings are made from sheets of gold curved into circular shapes. They are bound to an outer circle with gold wire and have been delicately incised with concentric rings vaguely reminiscent of the tracks on old wax or vinyl records. Two of the lock rings are almost identical in size — only 1 cm difference in width and .1 gram in weight — and while the third is smaller than the other two, the craftsmanship is so similar experts believe they were created if not by the same hand, then by the same workshop.

The lock rings, meanwhile, are very similar to an example from Portfield Camp, near Whalley, Lancashire.

The purpose of this latter kind of artefact is much debated, through – as they are normally found in pairs, it has been suggested that they may have been a form of high-status personal ornament peculiar to the late Bronze Age (c.1000-800 BC), possibly earrings or some kind of hair decoration.

These newly discovered examples, decorated with concentric rings and bound with gold wire, are unusual for being a group of three.

The gold penannular bracelet, with its undecorated design, flat, circular terminals and uneven curvature has features in common with an example now in the British Museum which was unearthed at Beachy Head, East Sussex, in the 19th century and is now in the British Museum. The bracelet and three lock rings are all a strong yellow color, an indication that the gold has copper added to the alloy.

The find spot — isolated, out-of-reach, high places located near notable features like hillforts and stone circles — is very much in keeping with past Bronze Age lock ring finds. The cauldron fragment is unusual for a lock ring cache. It may have been a previous deposition, but experts don’t think so because it was so found so close to the other pieces that it seems they were all buried together.

The findspot lies in an isolated high place on a prominent ridge that seems to have been an area visited throughout later prehistory. It is situated just below a possible Iron Age hillfort and close to a number of other prehistoric settlement sites, as well as a concentric stone circle. The presence of roughed-out stone axes found nearby hints at the site lying on one of the major transmission routes south for the Langdale axe factories during the Neolithic period, while socketed bronze axes that were also found nearby, probably from a smith’s hoard, point to the area’s importance during the Bronze Age.

‘The enclosed platform, sometimes described as a hillfort, has no evidence of buildings or habitation,’ said Stuart [Noon, Finds Liaison Officer for Lancashire and Cumbria]. ‘It appears that the site may have been of ritual importance, a place where offerings could be placed or buried in the ground or even inserted into the limestone outcrops, and which, it could be speculated, may have hosted gatherings and celebrations.’

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Building a Conjecturally Correct Medieval Puppet Stage

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sat, 2017-09-23 16:28

by THFool Dagonell the Juggler

The only medieval illustrations I could find of a period puppet stage come from The Romance of Alexander, a French manuscript started by Flemish illuminator Jehan de Grise during 1338-1344 with additional sections by other authors through the 14th and early 15th centuries. The manuscript is now at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford University.

Both have tall white fabric draping down to hide the puppeteers with a stage above for rod puppet performances. Both have crenellated towers to either side with a rainbow arch connecting them over the puppets.  In the first picture, the towers are on stage with the puppets and the stage between them is flat. In the second picture, the towers jut forward from the stage with puppets on them which would not leave room for a puppeteer beneath and the stage between them is also embattled in front of the central puppets.

I wanted my puppet stage to look as medieval as possible, but more importantly, it had to break down to fit in a compact car. People always ask me where I store the puppets in my house, but never think of my car. I live in a Victorian-era 140-year-old farmhouse, with lots of nooks and crannies (for all the crooks and nannies?). If you’ve seen the first Harry Potter movie, the puppet show lives in Harry’s bedroom under the stairs.

The first version of my stage was simply two uprights with a crossbar. Originally, I drilled a hole in the tops of the uprights and inserted a short wooden dowel. The crossbar had holes drilled in each end which fit over the dowels.  After the third time the dowels broke off in setting up or taking down the stage, I filled in the holes and drove a large nail into each upright. Now, I just drop the crossbar holes over the nails.

I folded the edges of a bed sheet over and sewed it down, forming long tubes on three sides of the sheet.  The crossbar and uprights slid into the tubes to keep the sheet upright.  Instead of a second bed sheet to extend it down to the floor, I sewed on a piece of bedspread material that Duchess Dorinda Courtenay gave me.  It was my intention to eventually do a shadow puppet show as well and the heavier fabric would better hide the puppeteers.

The uprights were originally held in place by slipping them into milk crates and weighing the milk crates down with coffee cans full of sand. Lord Coinneach Mac an Leigh is a wood wright and made me a pair of portable holes similar to what we use for indoor list ropes. I weigh them down with sandbags to hold them steadier while making it look more authentic. The sandbags are old canvas bank bags turned inside out to hide the lettering and stuffed with 2-liter bottles full of sand duct taped shut. They look authentic and I don’t have to worry about a small tear leaking sand everywhere.

First undocumented innovation: I ran a strip of masking tape horizontally exactly 24″ below the top of the stage and labeled it “Quicksand”. Scripts were taped to the back of the stage, but the puppeteers had to divide their attention between following the script and looking up to make sure the puppet was at stage level, neither floating above the stage nor sinking below it. With the quicksand marking, the puppeteer only had to glance at the bottom of the puppet’s central control rod.  If the rod was on the quicksand line, the puppet was at the correct height above.

Second undocumented innovation: I bought tool clips at the local hardware store and attached them to the crossbar every four inches. The crossbar was now permanently attached to the fabric, but that was not a problem, I simply rolled up the fabric around the crossbar when it came time to transport.  This arrangement not only allowed me to set up scenery by snapping it into the clips, but allowed a single puppeteer to handle multiple puppets.  The central control rod for each puppet snapped into the clip holding the puppet in place. One puppeteer could operate two puppets and hold a conversation between them simply by moving the arm rods of whichever puppet was supposed to be talking. Much later, I read in the book, Puppets and the Puppet Stage by Cyril W. Beaumont (1938), a historical puppet stage in Germany uses a similar technique with slots to rest the puppets in. “The type of rod-puppet used in the German Hanneschen theatre is mounted on a pole, reaching to the ground, which can be set in slots when the figure is to be stationary.” (pg.17)

You can just see the yellow ‘quicksand’ hardware tool clips every 4″tape crossing underneath the scripts. The strip behind the scripts is the one foot mark. Each puppeteer’s lines are highlighted in a different color.

When we do shows, the script pages are taped to the back of the stage with a font large enough so all the puppeteers can read them.  Parts were highlighted, not by puppet, but by puppeteer. If one puppeteer was working two puppets, both sets of lines were highlighted in the same color. Since we usually arranged it so one puppeteer wasn’t working two different puppets in the same scene, it wasn’t a problem. I know highlighters aren’t period, but this was simply too useful and I justified it because it was back stage where no one would see it.

At first, puppets were stuck into the milk crates holding the uprights based on whether they made their appearance from stage left or stage right.  In later performances, I arranged for a table to be behind stage with the puppets and props laid out from left to right in the order they made their appearance.

Third undocumented innovation: I asked Lord Coinneach to make a wooden board with holes drilled at intervals, like a standard pegboard, but with the holes larger and farther apart. I drape the board across the backs of two chairs and drop the control rods for the puppets and scenery in the holes from left to right in order of appearance. The arrangement takes up far less room behind stage which gives the puppeteers more room to work in. I looked up the history of folding chairs on Wikipedia to see if they were period. Not only did they have wooden folding chairs in medieval times, they had them on Viking long ships and in the Roman Coliseum!

At this point, I could do two different kinds of puppet shows. For a standard European style rod puppet show, the puppeteers stood behind the stage and the rod puppets performed above them.  For an Oriental style shadow puppet show, the puppeteers sat on cushions behind the yellow lower half of the stage.  Work lights behind the stage were aimed at the white upper half of the stage and the puppets performed while pressed against the fabric.  The first time we performed a shadow puppet show, audience members told us it was like watching stained glass windows perform!

The next modification I made for my stage was to add turrets. I decided that rather than add them on the stage like in folio 54r or in front of the stage as in folio 76r, that I would add them to the sides of the stage so they didn’t make the stage smaller. I cut turrets out of cardboard, painted them white and fastened them together with heavy masking tape. I added fabric to the bottom of each turret to extend them without adding any significant weight. They folded flat with the fabric draped over them for easy storage and transport.  Everything had to fit easily in my compact car. I drilled a pair of holes in each upright and the turrets fastened to the upright with long bolts and wingnuts. To keep their square shape during performance, a pair of white shoelaces connected opposite corners inside the turret above the window.

After a few years, the cardboard turrets started to get battered. I replaced them with wooden ones.  I cut them out of plywood, using the cardboard turrets as templates and hinged them together.  The same pairs of white shoelaces kept them square during performance.  I needed stronger towers to support the weight of the archway that would eventually cross from turret to turret.

My first attempt at an archway was cut from sheets of cardboard.  I cut two halves of an arch and hinged them together with duct tape so it could fold up for transport.  It was too flimsy to hold its shape.  When I replace it with a wooden arch, there will be a series of hooks along the bottom edge of the arch in back.  Those will be there to hang backdrop scenery from.  The puppets will be operated in a gap between the back drop and the stage front.

Fourth undocumented innovation: The first illumination shows the turrets as solid. The second illumination shows the turrets decorated with a design that is either painted on or cut out of the turrets and stage front.  I added arched windows to the front of each of my turrets and fastened a piece of drapery fabric behind each window to cover them.

The simple addition of turrets with windows expanded my capabilities enormously. I could have a narrator speed up the plot by appearing in a turret window and explaining scenes that were too complex to act out with puppets. Since the narrator was separate from the main stage, it didn’t even need to be the same kind of puppet, I could use a hand-puppet narrator with rod puppet actors.  I could also play out a minor scene on top of the turret or in the window without having to take down the scenery on the main portion of the stage. When we performed “Rapunzel”, the title character was up on top of a turret for most of her lines.

Fifth undocumented innovation: When we performed “The Ogre’s Staircase”, a Japanese folk tale about an ogre ruining village gardens, I cut pieces of felt to represent village houses, gardens, fish ponds and giant footprints and pinned them to the white section of the stage, making the front of the stage, part of the scenery. I expanded on this idea with “Why the Sea is Salt” when I created scenery on long sections of fabric which I then rolled up and taped shut and hung from the outermost tool clips.  When it came time to change the scene, I broke the tape and flipped the roll over the stage.  It unrolled down the front of the stage to display the new scene.  I could do multiple scenes this way provided they were arranged in reverse order so that the first scene was attached last and would be flipped over first.  I later converted the scenery for “The Ogre’s Staircase” into a drop down as well as making a ‘theater marquee’ for the puppet theater itself.  I am currently designing a ‘movie poster’ drop down for an upcoming play.

Front of stage for “The Ogre’s Staircase”

You can see the rolled-up scenery above and Thorin sails his ship across the sea in the the scripts for the final act of “Why the Sea is Salt”

The next innovation I intend to build is a projection that extends either forward or backward from the main curtain.  By extending it forward and covering it over, puppeteers can be under it and do a hand puppet show. By extending it backward and lifting the bottom of the yellow curtain, puppeteers can do a marionette show.

A few lessons from experience:

Almost none of my puppets are specific, they are generic fairy tale characters; old man, wizard, king, knight, princess, ogre, etc. All my puppets, except for a few specific characters like the witch or ogre, are Caucasian.  A puppet is a caricature of a human being. I have not yet been able to make a non-white puppet that didn’t have overtones of being a racist caricature, but I will keep trying. When I did an Oriental folk-tale, I simply put peasant hats on my standard puppets.

My first puppet shows were fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. They’re blatantly out of period, as the brothers collected fairy tales in the nineteenth century, but they don’t break the medieval ambiance of events, so they’re acceptable.  For a while, as a gag for the grown-ups, I made a pair of Brothers Grimm puppets to introduce and narrate their tales.  Wilhelm is tall and thin, Jacob is short and fat, and they both wear dark suits, white shirts, narrow ties, dark glasses, and fedoras.  They are ‘The Grimm Brothers’ and Jake introduced himself as “Bastille Jake”.  The joke went right over kid’s heads.  I have also used puppets of myself and William Shakespeare for narrators.   In more recent years, I have been producing puppet plays based on period folk tales.

When I first started out, I tried to match the gender of the puppet to the gender of the puppeteer for more realistic voices.  The kids simply don’t care and the puppeteers just pitch their voices higher or lower for female or male puppets as needed. We’ve put on several shows ‘in full drag’.

My puppets will interact with humans, I occasionally have a puppet in a discussion with a human narrator. My puppeteers will also do a quick vaudeville gag in front of the curtain to distract the audience while we change from one puppet play to another. One puppeteer walks around the front of the stage holding a sign that reads “See the Man Eating Lion!”  A moment later, he’s followed by another puppeteer holding a lion beanie baby and pretending to eat it.

The children love it when anything comes over the stage into the audience. I first discovered this doing “The Frog Prince”. I had Dixie cups with shots of water behind stage. Any time the frog went down the well, I tossed a shot over the stage to simulate the splash. The children all moved up to get wet. I rewrote the skit to send anything and everything down the well; the frog, the princess’ golden ball, her math book, etc. It was very popular.  I try to incorporate something going over in almost any performance we do.   A wizard trying to pull rabbits out of a hat showered the audience with nearly everything else starting with the letter “R” such as ribbons and rivets.  A magic wishing machine produced candy (never had to clean up after that one for some reason.)

If the show is long, it’s a single performance.  If the show is short, I may do a second short skit or extend the time with the puppet version of vaudeville jokes such as:

Princess holding her nose: “My nose, my nose, I got stung by a brose.”

Prince: “What’s a brose?”

Princess: “A pretty flower with red petals and thorns.”

Prince: “That’s a rose, there’s no ‘B’ in rose.”

Princess: “Well, there was in this one!”

I try to keep the entire performance under 20 minutes.  Longer than that, and the kids start getting restless. The local library had a puppet show about “Jack and the Beanstalk” that went on for a full hour. The production was brilliant, but the kids were fidgety before the first half hour was up.

After a mundane show, the audience will get up and leave.  At an SCA event, people want to come backstage. Since the show is usually against a wall, and there’s less than four feet behind the stage, I bring my more robust puppets out for people to examine while I answer questions.  I’ve given a couple of classes on doing puppet shows, but I usually end up with small children in the single digit age group. If I say it’s an adult class, people think I’m doing something like “Avenue Q” and I get no one. Adults enjoy puppet performances like MST3K or Dark Crystal, they just don’t want to admit it. In Japan, they treat a night at the puppet theater like we would treat an opera performance. Get a sitter for the kids, wear your best clothes, and if your cell phone goes off, you could get ejected from the theater.


Photos labelled 2012 taken by Lady Helena Lyncoln of Norfolk at 2012 Harvest Raid and used with permission.  Remaining photos taken by me at Harvest Raid 2016 and in my garage shortly afterward.


Baird, Bil (1965) The Art of the Puppet. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Bane, Matheus (2006) Marionette.

Beaumont, Cyril W. (1938) Puppets and the Puppet Stage. New York: Studio Publications.

Beaumont, Cyril W. (1958) Puppets and Puppetry New York: Studio Publications.

Mahlmann, Lewis and David Cadwalader Jones (1974) Puppet Plays for Young Players Boston: Plays Inc.

Schreur, David K (2006) Puppets and Puppetry in Period.

Speight, George (1955) The History of the English Puppet Theatre New York: John de Graff


Categories: SCA news sites

Golden altar of Sahl Church removed for study

History Blog - Fri, 2017-09-22 22:32

Sahl Church in the Northwest Jutland village of Sahl near Struer is a fine example of Romanesque architecture. Built around 1150 out of granite ashlars, it has several notable features: a rune stone built into the chapel’s west wall, 16th century frescos, a burgundy silk velvet chasuble embroidered with silver thread made from the wedding dress of Queen Anna Sophia that is still used today on special occasions. Its most spectacular feature is the Golden Altar, a gilded copper altarpiece made by a Danish master artisan from Ribe in around 1200. Embedded with crystals around the borders, the reliefs on the altarpiece panels depict figures and scenes from the Bible, particularly the childhood and suffering of Jesus, and Christian symbolism.

Popular devotional objects in the Middle Ages, only seven golden altars remain today in Denmark and only two of them in their original locations. (The rest are kept at the National Museum.) The bursts of iconoclastic zeal and the preference for plain church decor of the Reformation took a heavy toll on these objects. Many of them were destroyed and the ones that remain are not in the best of the condition. The altarpiece of Sahl Church is by far the best preserved of the seven, largely intact with no major missing parts. Most of the crystals were lost by the 1930s, but they were restored by National Museum experts in 1935.

In 1850, Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae, an archaeologist who was Denmark’s Inspector for the Conservation of Antiquarian Monument, surveyed the church as part of an inspection tour of the area. He warned in a letter that Sahl’s vicar was “adamant that the strange old altarpiece was to be removed” and when he wasn’t able to get rid of the priceless medieval gold and crystal altarpiece, he hired a local artist to paint over the wings. They weren’t original to the piece, thankfully, and they’re gone now but it lends some insight into why there are so few of these inestimable treasures left. Changes in fashion and taste can wreak havoc on historic artifacts, even ones whose value in sheer materials is blatantly obvious. This same vicar, by the way, also had the church’s medieval wooden coffer axed to pieces FOR FIREWOOD. Yet another page in the endless People Are Terrible ledger.

The altar has not been absolutely dated. What we know of their ages has been deduced from analysis of the design style and craftsmanship. When it was last restored more than 80 years ago, it was only spruced up. A new study of the Sahl Golden Altar by conservators at the National Museum of Denmark will give experts the opportunity to use modern methods of analysis to test the wood itself. Dendrochronology, if successful, can provide very precise dates. It will also be X-rayed and the gilding analyzed. They hope the study will reveal more information about the altar’s construction and materials.

While the altar is at the museum, visitors to Sahl Church will see a large-scale photograph of it draped over its usual location.

Within the last few years, the National Museum has conducted further studies on several of the golden altars. The results from this will be gathered in a publication about the unique cultural heritage of golden altars from the Middle Ages, which exists in Denmark.

It is the Carlsberg Foundation, which has granted the money for analyzes of the alhl from Sahl, and the experts hope that the results will be available at the end of the year.

In addition to a new study of the altar, the church itself will also be thoroughly reviewed. This appears in a publication published in the beginning of 2018, where the churches in Estvad, Rønbjerg and Vinderup will also be described.

The publication of the four Western Jutland churches is published as a volume in the National Museum’s great work of Danish Churches, which aims to publish descriptions of all the churches of the country. The project started in 1933, and today about two thirds of the Danish churches are described.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Another brief interlude

History Blog - Thu, 2017-09-21 19:51

I am internetless again, but again it should be a brief lapse. I’ll be up and running with a fresh story tomorrow, Liver of Piacenza willing.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Rare Rockwell painting owned by Debbie Reynolds for sale

History Blog - Wed, 2017-09-20 22:40

A rare painting of Benjamin Franklin striking a saucy pose as he signs the Declaration of Independence will be sold to the highest bidder at The Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Personal Property Auction to be held in Los Angeles on October 7th-9th. For the past seven years until Ms. Reynold’s recent death, the painting was on loan to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts which must be disconsolate by the loss of so important and unique a piece.

The painting is accomplished in oil on 37 x 28 in. canvas, capturing a full-length portrait of Benjamin Franklin with a quill pen in hand, prepared to sign The Declaration of Independence and leaning on a Federal-style desk with the Seal of the United States behind him. The platform base reads, “Sesqui * Centennial * Celebration * of * the * Signing * of * the Declaration * of * Independence”. This incredibly historic Rockwell work has been exhibited in twelve museums around the United States since 1972 and has been published in several books.

Rockwell painted the work for the cover of the May 29, 1926, edition of the Saturday Evening Post commemorating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Post commissioned the subject and chose Benjamin Franklin for a specific reason: Franklin was the publisher of the influential Pennsylvania Gazette, the Philadelphia newspaper that the Saturday Evening Post claims as its historical ancestor, even though the Post didn’t exist until 1821 and the Gazette ceased publication in 1800.

The Post‘s reverence for Franklin continued to be expressed in its covers for decades. Between 1943 and 1961, every January the cover would feature a portrait of Benjamin Franklin (usually rather dry ones with a sadly unsaucy stone bust in the foreground) and a quote from his writings. Even today the revived magazine runs a “find Benjamin Franklin’s key” contest, named after his famed kite experiment first published anonymously in the Pennsylvania Gazette of October 19, 1752.

The pre-sale estimate for the oil-on-canvas original capturing the history of one of the United States’ most brilliant innovators, statesmen and printers and a magazine whose slice of Americana covers by Norman Rockwell have become iconic is $2,000,000 – $3,000,000. This is the first time the painting has been gone up for public auction, so the sky is probably the limit, pricewise.

Some of the proceeds from the auction will go to Debbie Reynolds’s most beloved charity The Thalians and The Jed Foundation, an anti-suicide organization chosen by Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Happy Æthelmearc Day!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2017-09-20 07:37

Earl Yngvar with an Æthelmearc procession

Happy Æthelmearc Day!

Twenty years ago today, Yngvar and Caryl became the first King & Queen of Kingdom of Aethelmearc.

Video of the Coronation can be found here, courtesy of Rowena Dhonnchaidh.

Want to learn more about the history of our Sylvan Kingdom? The Æthelmearc Historian’s website can be found here.

Ad Gloriam Æthelmearc!

Categories: SCA news sites

Peruvian child mummy X-rayed in Texas hospital

History Blog - Tue, 2017-09-19 22:48

An ancient Peruvian mummy that has been part of the collection of the Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science for 60 years received its first X-ray yesterday at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. Very little is known about the mummy which was removed from Peru by unknown (illegal?) means at an unknown time. It has been at the museum since it opened in 1957, a gift from New York’s American Museum of Natural History via its former employee and the Corpus Christi Museum’s first director, Aalbert Heine. The mummy was one of many ancient artifacts and remains Heine brought to the new museum, accession number 137 in a collection that now counts in the millions.

There are no records extant of the mummy at the Museum of Natural History. The Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science’s tag labels it the mummy of an Inca child approximately 2,000 years old. As the Inca Empire is nowhere near that old (the civilization’s origin story places its founding in the 13th century), the label is drastically off-base. It is wrapped in a coiled rope that looks like a basket but isn’t. The only other potential source of information about the mummy are a few textile fragments that have somehow managed to remain on her body, but they have yielded no more answers so far.

Attitudes towards the display of human remains have changed over the years as the anthropological approach shifted from treating people like curios to respect for the dead (and living, for that matter) within their cultural context. The mummy was removed from display in the 1980s and has been kept in storage ever since. Last year, collections manager Jillian Becquet and assistant curator of education Madeleine Fontenot began to investigate the history of the mummy with the aim of repatriating it to its homeland. After extensive research in the museum archives, newspaper records and scrapbooks, the two had little new information to show for it.

Enter the Driscoll Children’s Hospital. An X-ray might reveal important information that would confirm its Peruvian provenance, an essential step in the repatriation process.

“She was not my average patient!” said Suzi Beckwith, Diagnostic X-ray Coordinator at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. […]

“Because of the size of the mummy, I thought it was a baby,” Beckwith said. “But looking at the X-rays, you see her legs are actually tucked in. So she’s not a baby. She’s a little girl.

X-rays can confirm gender, age, and even cause of death.

“We’re looking for things that can help us give information to anthropologists in Peru, and then hopefully confirm cultural group that she belongs to, said Jillian Becquet, Collections Manager at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.

The burial position confirmed by the X-rays could be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Different cultural groups buried their dead in different positions, so experts could determine her origins from that alone. Examination of her bones could pinpoint injuries, healed, peri-mortem or post-mortem.

The museum is working with Peruvian Embassy officials to identify the mummy and arrange for her return. Fontenot and Becquet hope Peruvian experts can learn more about her by studying the rope that binds her and the fragments of cloth. They’re not at that stage yet, however. Before they decide whether to invest in that kind of research, Peruvian officials will study the X-rays and documentation to see if the mummy is a likely candidate for repatriation to Peru. The more data they have, the more securely they will be able to claim her as their own.

“Whatever group was around her chose to do this very caring thing, to wrap her purposefully and bury her,” Becquet said. “Somebody along the way disrespected that, and so we want that to be restored.”

When this little mummy is returned to the land of her ancestors, the Corpus Christi Museum of Natural History and Science will have no people left languishing in its storage cabinets. She is the last one.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Event Report: Cast Iron Chef III (at Shoot in the Wildwood)

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2017-09-19 19:01

By Elska á Fjárfelli, of the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn (Susan Verberg)

Come for the pointy projectiles! Stay for the fabulous food!

Accurately described by co-organizer THL Lijsbet de Keukere, Delftwood hosted its third annual Cast Iron Chef Cooking Tournament on September 3 as part of the barony’s archery event A Shoot in the Wildwood.

The cooking trench at Cast Iron Chef cooking tourney III, with in the foreground the oven Algirdas scratch built.  All photography by Elska.

Each year brings a new challenge, and this year Lijsbet and Lord Sebastian Mora challenged the archers to shoot their best royal round on behalf of the cooks for first pick of their coveted Mystery Baskets. The baskets varied in theme, each one contained high-quality, valuable ingredients… and all had to be used in some way or another to create the best three-dish meal.

To supplement the Mystery Basket, the pantry had been bountifully stocked with pantry staples common for the average medieval household: beans, grains, common garden vegetables, simple dairy products, and foraged goods.

With these building blocks the teams, consisting of no more than a head cook, one assistant, and one archer, were charged to make a plausibly medieval meal over the communal open fire for the judges to sample. Following the format of the past three years, all tournament cooking had to be done on site during the designated tournament time of three hours, and no food brought in from off site could be used. While most cooks brought their own copious amounts of cast iron cook wares, for the cook in sudden need loaner pots & pans were available. Occasionally, the judges would make their rounds, and even though they were not supposed to direct, it was totally fine to ask questions…

While I tried my best to compile as complete a picture as possible, I was distracted by cooking, and the Book of Faces wasn’t as enlightening as hoped… my advanced apologies to anyone I might have missed!

And without further ado, let’s introduce our cast iron teams!

Kiera and her menu.

Kiera MacLeod had archer Edward Harbinger shoot her the East Kingdom Basket, which included barley, asparagus, rosewater, cherries, turnips, and rump roast.

Ciaran & Wynn’s meal.

Algirdas and Aldanza.

Ciaran & Wynn choose the Butcher’s Basket, which included an intriguing collection of pork necks, pork hocks, and chuck steak.

Meadbh and Elska’s menu.

Meadbh ni Clerigh, assisted by me, had her daughter Mary of Hartford shoot us the Sweet & Savory Basket;  Mary shot the overall highest score. This basket included walnuts, dried figs, dried prunes, dried apricots, dried dates, and dried cherries with chuck steak.

Matheus & Katherine’s entry.

Matheus Hundamaðr, assisted by Katharine Thorne, had archer Snorri sketi Bjornsson shoot them the Perrote Basket. This basket included parsnips, lentils, chickpeas, turnips, chives, peach sauce, and pork shoulder.

Thirteen-year-old Morgan Littlejohn, assisted by her father Fearghus macEoin Littlejohn, had archer Siobhan shoot them the Farmer’s Basket. This basket included gruyere, parmesan, turnips, leeks, celeriac, apples, pears, asparagus, and chicken.

Algirdas Wolfus, assisted by Aldanza Wolfus, had archer Robert of Furness shoot them the Delftwood Basket. This basket included eggs, apples, olive oil, honey mustard, dates, and chicken.


Fearghus and Morgan.

While the highest scoring archer gave her team first pick of the Mystery Baskets, the organizers then threw in a nice curve ball by reversing the order of who went shopping first in the Pantry! Did I overhear one cook thank his archer for having been a lousy shot…?

What did we end up making?

Matheus & Katharine made a “Norse Meal in Miklagård” with a menu of:

  • Grikkland Grautr: a pottage of red lentils, rice, chickpea, parsnips, onion, garlic, butter, cumin, and celery seed, garnished with shaved radish and chives.
  • Pork in the way of Serkland: pork, rubbed with rosemary infused olive oil, crushed long pepper, salt, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, seared then stewed with verjuice and dried figs, finished with fresh figs.
  • Sœtrbröd: whole wheat and ground walnut pancake, spiced with mace, nutmeg, and ginger, topped with peach preserves, butter, cooked apricots, and roasted walnuts.

The menu of Morgan & Fearghus included:

  • Chicken and vegetable stew.
  • Stuffed roasted apples and pears, decorated with edible flowers.
  • Asparagus with parmesan.

Algirdas & Aldanza’s menu offered, with little flags following the French style:

  • Vegetable and cheese egg tart.
  • Apple and carrot salad (garnished with fig and almonds).
  • Chicken bruet with mustard sauce in a leaf of egg.
  • Sage water.
  • Date and apple tart.

Meadbh & Elska made a 14th century Anglo-Saxon meal with:

  • Kidney and Steak stew with dates and apricots.
  • Savory custard pie with eggs, soft cheese, pears, dates and almonds
  • Barley with raisins and shaved almonds.
  • Cherry and almond pie.
  • Bread pudding with dates and figs.
  • Sage water for hand washing.

Ciaran & Wynn’s hearty menu was:

  • Pig knuckle and barley pottage.
  • Pork hock pottage.
  • Grilled vegetables & steak.
  • Rehomogenized milk.

Finally, Kiera’s menu included:

  • Grilled chicken with cherry sauce
  • Chicken & barley pottage
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Marzipan-filled dates.

The winners of the third Cast Iron Chef cooking competition, with the competition organizers.

In the end? We were all so excited and hungry for our own food that we were waiting for the judges to move along, so we could go enjoy ourselves! And not just us, there were quite a few bystanders with empty plates, waiting for the word to dig in…

For me, this was the first time cooking multiple dishes over open fire, and am I glad I brought all my cast iron pots & pans, we used every single one! It was a wonderful experience, not competitive at all. There was many a time where someone exclaimed for some sugar/cinnamon/flour and it would instantly appear from another cook’s station. We loaned out gear as needed and kept and eye on all that was cooking. I do not think I would have done anything different, and hope to be able to participate again next year! Thank you, Lijsbet and Sebastian for organizing, again, this wonderful event. A big thank you to all the volunteers and donors of wonderful foodstuffs, thanks to you the pantry was glorious! Thank you to our judges for your constructive help and feedback. It made for a most wonderful outdoor experience. All in all, I hardly even noticed the rain.

And now for the results we’ve all been waiting for…

While being able to make something wonderful out of pig’s knuckles and hocks is a worthy deed indeed, the Baroness felt she was most impressed by 13-year-old Morgan and her third time entering this competition successfully, thereby Morgan  and her dad Fearghus were the Baroness’s pick.

Playing to the crowd by bringing Delftwood and Kingdom regalia – and choosing the Delftwood Basket – the Baron was not able to overcome all this Delftwood splendor and picked team Algirdas & Aldanza Wolfus as the Baron’s choice. But don’t think that was all! Algirdas built a completely functional on-site oven as well, and the two of them walked away victorious as the Ultimate Cast Iron Chefs! Vivat!

For many more pictures of the A.S.52 Cast Iron Chef, see John Michael Thorpe’s photos here and JJ Art and Photography’s here.


For more information about this awesome Tournament, see here.



Categories: SCA news sites

Indian manuscript with zero symbol far older than realized

History Blog - Mon, 2017-09-18 22:32

Researchers have discovered that an ancient Indian manuscript is far older than previously realized and therefore contains the earliest known example of the symbol for zero as it is used today. The Bakhshali manuscript, written on 70 delicate leaves of birch bark, was discovered buried in a field near Peshawar in 1881. Indologist AFR Hoernle bought it from the farmer who found it and in 1902 gifted it to the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford where it is kept in the rare books collection.

Replete with Sanskrit numerals, including many instances of the small dot that is the ancestor of our zero, the manuscript is believed to have been written by Silk Road merchants practicing math rather than being a philosophical or scholarly work. Its age has long been subject to debate among scholars and the best guesses, based on factors like writing style and the mathematical concepts it convers, put it between the 8th and 12th century.

University researchers hoped radiocarbon testing would provide an absolute date and answer some of these long-standing questions. They were astounded when several of the pages turned out to date between 200 and 400 A.D. Before now, the zero dot on the wall of the Ganesh temple at the 9th century Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh, India, was believed to be the oldest visual representation of the ancestor of the modern zero numeral. Researchers expected the Bakshali manuscript to date to around the same time as the depiction in the temple.

The zero symbol that we use today evolved from a dot that was used in ancient India and can be seen throughout the Bakhshali manuscript. The dot was originally used as a ‘placeholder’, meaning it was used to indicate orders of magnitude in a number system – for example, denoting 10s, 100s and 1000s.

While the use of zero as a placeholder was seen in several different ancient cultures, such as among the ancient Mayans and Babylonians, the symbol in the Bakhshali manuscript is particularly significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is this dot that evolved to have a hollow centre and became the symbol that we use as zero today. Secondly, it was only in India that this zero developed into a number in its own right, hence creating the concept and the number zero that we understand today – this happened in 628 AD, just a few centuries after the Bakhshali manuscript was produced, when the Indian astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta wrote a text called Brahmasphutasiddhanta, which is the first document to discuss zero as a number.

The reason for the confusion about its date is that the birch pages date to three different periods, hence the range of styles and arithmetic.

Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, said:

‘Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics.

‘We now know that it was as early as the 3rd century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world. The findings show how vibrant mathematics have been in the Indian sub-continent for centuries.’

The Bodleian will loan one folio from the Bakhshali manuscript to the Science Museum in London for its upcoming Illuminating India: 5000 Years of Science and Innovation exhibition. This is the first time any part of the manuscript has been loaned to another institution and a unique opportunity to see a seminal piece of mathematical history alongside other important of India’s contributions to the history of math, science and technology. It runs from October 4th, 2017, through March 31st, 2018.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Court Report – A Funny Thing Happened to St. Andrew on the Way to the Forum

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2017-09-18 19:21

Unofficial Court Report
The Court of Their Majesties Ioannes and Honig
Held at A Funny Thing Happened to St. Andrew on the Way to the Forum – An Investiture
On September 16, A.S. 52, 2017 C.E.
In the Barony of An Dubhaigeainn

In the morning Court, the following items of business were conducted.

Lord David Vazquez de Valencia stepped down as Baron of An Dubhaigeainn.

Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres stepped down as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn.

Lord Titus Aurelius Magnus was invested as Baron of An Dubhaigeainn. He was given a scroll created by Mistress Catarina Giaocchini.

Lady Sorcha of Stonegrave was invested as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn. She was given a scroll calligraphed and illuminated by Lady Magdalena Lantfarerin, with words by Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte.

Lord Peter of Hawkwood presented a hand-crafted wooden footrest to Her Majesty.

Lady Sofia Gianetta di Trieste was inducted into the Order of the Maunche for her excellence in costuming. She was given a scroll calligraphed by Lord Vettorio Antonello and illuminated by Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres.

Lady Sofia Gianetta di Trieste was then sent to Vigil to contemplate induction into the Order of the Laurel.

Lord Vettorio Antonello was also called to sit Vigil to contemplate induction into the Order of the Laurel for his excellence in calligraphy and illumination.

In the afternoon Court, the following items of business were conducted.

Lord David Vazquez de Valencia was given a Court Barony with Grant of Arms for his service to the Barony of An Dubhaigeainn. He was given a scroll crafted by Lord Vettorio Antonello.

Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres was given a thank you scroll, calligraphed by Master Jonathan Blaecstan and illuminated by Mistress Kis Marike, for her service as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn.

The children of the East were called forward. Their Majesties offered them toys from the Kingdom toy chest if they could capture its bearer, the Court’s newest Baron, David Vazquez de Valencia.

Her Majesty presented Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres with the Queen’s Order of Courtesy for her graciousness while serving as Baroness of An Dubhaigeainn. The Queen did the embroidery on the glove.

Their Majesties called for Mistress Jadwiga Zajaczkowa. She was made Guildmistress of the established at the newly re-established East Kingdom Herbalists’ and Apothecaries’ Guild. The Guild’s charter was calligraphed and illuminated by Lady Sarah bas Mordechai.

Genevieve Velleman was called before the Crown. For her work as an archer, and her contribution to the arts and sciences and service in kitchens and at events, she was Awarded Arms. Scroll forthcoming, words by Master Rowen Cloteworthy.

Their Excellencies An Dubhaigeainn presented gifts of welcome to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses.

The Crown called for those newcomers attending their first Royal Progress. Those newcomers were given tokens from the Crown in welcome.

Monkey Makgee was called into Court. For her work in the kitchens, as event steward, and for her work with the arts and sciences, she was awarded the Order of the Silver Wheel. The scroll was created by Lady Onora ingheann Ui Rauirc.

Lady Sláine Baen Ronáin was also called forward to take her place in the Order of the Silver Wheel for her work as an MoL, royal retainer, chatelaine, event steward, and dishwasher. She was given a scroll crafted by Baroness Mari Clock van Hoorne.

Their Majesties called for Barone Francesco Gaetano Gréco d’Edessa. For his work as seneschal, herald, webminister, and chronicler, he was inducted into the Order of the Silver Crescent. In recognition of this, he was given a scroll made by Baroness Aesa feilinn Jossursdottir with words by Master Erhart von Stuttgart.

Conrad Järnhand was called before the Crown. For his contibutions as a fighter, teacher, and combat archer, he was Awarded Arms and given a scroll with calligraphy and illumnation by Lady Triona MacCaskey, words by Master Toki Skaldagorvir.

The Crown next called for Louis of House Three Skulls. For his work as a kitchener and feast cook, he was Awarded Arms and presented a scroll with words and illumnation by Lady Triona MacCaskey and calligraphy by Master Jonathan Blaecstan.

Their Majesties summoned Baroness Sorsha of Stonegrave. For her work as an herbalist, teaching at scholas and demos and running workshops, she was inducted into the Order of the Maunche. She was given a scroll crafted by Pan Jan Janowicz Bogdanski.

The Crown called then for Lady Onora ingheann Ui Rauirc. For her work as a calligrapher and illuminator, she too was inducted into the Order of the Maunche. She was gifted a scroll calligraphed by Lord Vettorio Antonello and illuminated by Vicereine Lada Monguligin.

Emperor Ioannes and Empress Honig then thanked Their event steward, Lord Ronan Fitzrobert, for his work.

Their Majesties requested the attendance of Lady Bianca Anguissola. For her services to the Crown as a retainer and aide, she was presented with a Court Barony and Grant of Arms. The scroll was crafted by Queen Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt with words by Nicol mac Donnachaidh.

Their Imperial Majesties then called for the answer to the question set before Lord Vettorio Antonello. Lord Vettorio was released from his fealty to Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte. Words of support were offered by Sir Antonio Patrasso for the Chivalry. Mistress Nest verch Tangwistel spoke for the Pelican. Sir Antonio read the words of Master Donovan Shinnock for the Defense. Mistress Suzanne Neüber de Londres presented the words of Duchess Thyra Eiriksdottir. Master Ateno of Annun Ridge read the words of Master Alexandre St. Pierre, then spoke words of his own. The scroll was crafted by Mistress Kay Leigh Mac Whyte, with words by Mistress Kay Leigh and Master Ryan McWhyte. Master Vettorio was presented two medallions, two cloaks, and a wreath, then offered his fealty to the Crown.

Lady Sofia Gianetta di Trieste was then called before Emperor Ioannes and Empress Honig to accept her place in the Order of the Laurel. She was released from her apprenticeship to Master Jose Felippe Francisco el Sastre de Madrid. Sir Donnan Fitzgerald came forward to speak on behalf of the Chivalry. Master Philip White spoke for the Order of the Pelican. Master Jean Xavier Boullier offered words for the Order of Defense. Duchess Isabella of York spoke for the Order of the Rose. Lord Ervald LaCoudre Edwardson the Optimistic offered words on behalf of the populace. Mistress Caterina Gioacchini spoke for the Order of the Laurel. The scroll was created by Vicereine Lada Monguligin with words by Master Jose. Mistress Sofia was given several medallions, a mantle, and a wreath. She then offered her fealty to the Crown.

Their Highnesses and Their Majesties offered final words of thanks and appreciation to the Barony of An Dubhaigeainn, then Court was concluded.

These are the events of the day as I recall them. My thanks to the Barony, all the guards, retainers, heralds, scribes, and those others who made the day possible.

For Crown and Kingdom,
Pray know I remain,

– Master Rowen Cloteworthy

Filed under: Court

Oldest royal tomb of Centipede dynasty found in Guatemala

History Blog - Sun, 2017-09-17 22:25

Archaeologists excavating the ancient Maya city of El Perú-Waka’ have discovered the oldest known royal tomb of the Wak or Centipede dynasty. The international team from the El Perú-Waka’ Archaeological Project (PAW) found the tomb excavating tunnels under the Palace Acropolis. Analysis of the ceramic grave goods date the tomb to 300-350 A.D. Going from the date alone, the deceased could be King Te’ Chan Ahk who ruled in the early 4th century.

The skeletal remains of an adult male were found inside the tomb, but there were no inscriptions that would conclusively prove his identity. One artifact did make it clear that this was a royal tomb: a jade funerary mask. The portrait mask, painted a bright red with cinnabar, has a tell-tale hair tab on the forehead characteristic of the Maize God. There’s a symbol on the tab reminscent of a Greek Cross which is a combination of the glyphs for “Yellow” and “Precious,” another reference to the corn deity.

[Guatemalan archaeologists Griselda Pérez Robles and Damaris Menéndez] discovered the mask under the head of the ruler, and it may have been made to cover the face rather than as a chest pectoral. Archaeologists at Tikal in the 1960s discovered a similar greenstone mask in the earliest Maya royal tomb, dating to the first century A.D.

Additional offerings in Burial 80 included 22 ceramic vessels, Spondylus shells, jade ornaments and a shell pendant carved as a crocodile. The remains of the ruler and some ornaments like the portrait mask were painted bright red. Burial 80 was reverentially reentered after 600 A.D. at least once, and it is possible that the bones were painted during this reentry.

El Perú-Waka’ was an important city-state that controlled major north-south and east-west trade routes during the Mayan classical period. It produced a wide range of goods for trade — maize avocados, latex, jade — and its support was hungrily sought after by the greatest rivals of the time: Tikal and Calakmul. The north-south trade route linked the great Classical period Mayan power center of Calakmul in modern-day Campeche, Mexico, with its allies to the south in what is today Guatemala. The rulers of Calakmul, the mighty Snake dynasty, cemented their relationships with the rulers of conquered, vassal and allied cities in strategically significant areas by marriage. Lady K’abel, aka Lady Snake Lord, daughter of King Yuhknoom Ch’een the Great of Calakmul, married King K’inich Bahlam II of the Centipede dynasty in the 7th century.

The Wak dynasty long predates the rise of Calakmul and its military and political machinations, however. Drawing from later inscriptions found at El Perú-Waka’, historians believe the dynasty was founded in the 2nd century A.D. making it one of the earliest Mayan ruling families. By the early 5th century A.D., the city’s population numbered in the tens of thousands and the city had dozens of public buildings, squares, religious centers and more. That was the heyday of the city’s prosperity, even though its alliance with Calakmul and the benefits it incurred from the relationship were still hundreds of years away.

“The Classic Maya revered their divine rulers and treated them as living souls after death,” said research co-director David Freidel, professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

“This king’s tomb helped to make the royal palace acropolis holy ground, a place of majesty, early in the history of the Wak — centipede — dynasty. It’s like the ancient Saxon kings England buried in Old Minister, the original church underneath Winchester Cathedral.”

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History


East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2017-09-17 11:09

The Society College of Arms runs on monthly cycles and letters. Each month, the  College processes name and armory submissions from all of the Kingdoms. Final  decisions on submissions are made at the monthly meetings of the Pelican Queen of Arms (names) and the Wreath Queen of Arms (armory). Pelican and Wreath then write up their decisions in a Letter of Acceptances and Return (LoAR). After review and proofreading, LoARs generally are released two months after the meeting where the decisions are made.

An “acceptance” indicates that the item(s) listed are now registered with the Society. A “return” indicates that the item is returned to the submitter for additional work. Most items are registered without comments. Sometimes, the LoAR will address specific issues about the name or armory or will praise the submitter/herald on putting together a very nice historically accurate item. The following results are from the June 2017 Wreath and Pelican meetings.

EAST acceptances

Avonmore, Shire of. Badge for Populace. Per bend sinister purpure and Or, a lighthouse Or and a bird sable.

East, Kingdom of the. Order name Order of Silver Mantle of the East and badge. (Fieldless) A mantle argent.

In the return of Lochac’s badge, (Fieldless) A mantle gules, lined and charged on the sinister breast with a mullet of six points argent in June 2003, it was noted:

If someone wore a red mantle which was lined white and charged on the sinister breast with a mullet of six points argent, it would not appear to be a correct display of this badge. … One correct heraldic display… would be to create an enameled pin in the shape of the charged mantle. Another correct display would be to make a flag and put a picture of the charged mantle on the flag.

Similarly, the correct display of this badge is not a silver mantle; it would be a pin or medallion displaying a silver mantle.

Ile du Dragon Dormant, Baronnie de l’. Badge association for Populace. Purpure, on a pale argent a pallet Or.

Ioannes Aurelius Serpentius. Name and device. Per pale gules and sable, a three-headed hydra passant and on a chief argent three frets couped gules.

After the close of commentary, additional research by Ursula Palimpsest and Alisoun Metron Ariston supported the pattern of the name based on, among other things, the attested example of Libius Severus Serpentius.

Katla of Stóra Borg. Name and device. Azure estencely, an owl maintaining in its feet a sheaf of arrows fesswise reversed argent.

PN2E of SENA states:

No name will be registered that either in whole or in part is obtrusively modern. Something is said to be obtrusively modern when it makes a modern joke or reference that destroys medieval ambience and drags the average person mentally back to the present day. Obtrusiveness can be either in the written form or when spoken. A period name that has a modern referent will not generally be considered obtrusively modern. Only extreme examples will be returned.

Submitted as Katla of Borg, commenters in OSCAR and at the Roadshow at the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium universally agreed that the phrase “of Borg” is an obtrusively modern Star Trek reference. As the submitter allows all changes, we have changed the byname to of Stóra Borg to use the lingua Anglica name of one of the places known as Borg in period and thereby avoid the appearance of obtrusive modernity.

Lillia de Vaux. Heraldic title Crampette Herault.

Nice Middle English heraldic title!

Luca Spadini. Name and device. Azure, a serpent erect and on a chief argent three ravens sable.

Luna Cohen. Name.

Objections were raised in commentary to the use of the surname Cohen by a woman based on its Hebrew meaning denoting descent from the priestly caste. However, in commentary, Yehuda Blue Tyger provided evidence from the FamilySearch Historical Records of 16th century and early 17th century English women with the surname Cohen. In addition, Lillia Crampette noted in commentary that Cohen is the name of a location in France. Based on this evidence, there is no reason to bar a woman from using the surname Cohen in English or French. As Luna is also found as an English given name, this name is registerable as a 16th century English name.

Mael Eoin mac Echuid.  Household name Company of the Black Boot.

Submitted as Black Boot Company, no evidence could be found to support the pattern of this household name. In December 2013, we ruled that the correct form of a company name using the pattern Color + Heraldic Charge is Company of [color] [charge]:

Submitted as Red Dragon Company, commenters could not find evidence of a company name using the pattern X Company, where X is a charge or a color + charge. However, the pattern Company of the X can be justified as the lingua Anglica form of an order name or fraternal organization. Although the submitter did not allow major changes, he permitted the change to Company of the Red Dragon. We have done so in order to register the name. [Tristram O’Shee, 12/2013 LoAR, A-An Tir]

Neither the Letter of Intent nor commenters provided any documentation inconsistent with this precedent. Accordingly, with the submitter’s permission, we have changed the name to Company of the Black Boot for registration.

Mari Clock van Hoorne.  Badge (see RETURNS for alternate name). (Fieldless) A comet per pale gules and Or.

Mathias Feuer Drache.  Device. Sable semy-de-lis, on a pale Or a dragon gules.

Ysmay de Lynn.  Badge. (Fieldless) A shoe Or.

Nice badge!


EAST returns

Cillene O Caollaidhe.  Device. Per pale purpure and argent, a butterfly counterchanged and on a chief argent five trefoils vert.

This device is returned for violation of SENA A3B, Armorial Contrast. The chief is argent on a field that is half argent, half purpure, and the chief comes into contact with the argent portion of the field. In the Letter of Intent, the submitter cited SENA A3B4b, which states that

The field and charges on it may share a tincture only if … (2) only one of the two is multiply divided and the charge(s) is an ordinary or simple geometric shape arranged in a way that both the type of field division and charge are clearly identifiable.

However, the rule gives a clear example that informs this decision:

For example, both Vair, a chief argent or Checky Or and vert, a lozenge vert can be acceptable, if drawn so that the shared tinctures are not against each other.

Because per pale is not “multiply divided,” and the chief comes into contact with a substantial portion of the field that shares its tincture, it becomes unrecognizable and must be returned.

Gaius Claudius Valerianus.  Device. Per fess argent and vert, a stag’s head caboshed sable and two lightning bolts in saltire Or.

This device must be returned for redraw. The line of division as depicted is high enough above the tics of the marked fess line that the lightning bolts (which should be completely below it) cross the normal fess line.

When resubmitting, the submitter should make the lightning bolts thicker and bolder, and not interlace them where they cross in saltire.

There is a step from period practice for the use of lightning bolts not as part of a thunderbolt.

Mari Clock van Hoorne.  Alternate name Star Dust.

This name must be returned for violating PN2E, which states:

No name will be registered that either in whole or in part is obtrusively modern. Something is said to be obtrusively modern when it makes a modern joke or reference that destroys medieval ambience and drags the average person mentally back to the present day. Obtrusiveness can be either in the written form or when spoken. A period name that has a modern referent will not generally be considered obtrusively modern. Only extreme examples will be returned.

Commenters in OSCAR, at the Pelican decision meeting and at the Roadshow at the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium unanimously called this name obtrusively modern, particularly as the concept of “star dust” is dated to the 19th century and later. Even applying the fairly liberal standard for obtrusive modernity, this name grabbed too many listeners by the scruff of the neck and dragged them into the 21st century.


Filed under: Heraldry Tagged: heraldry, LoAR

Irma exposes dugout canoe, history buff saves it

History Blog - Sat, 2017-09-16 22:05

A dugout canoe driven from its watery home on the bottom of the Indian River just north of Cocoa in Brevard County, Florida, by Hurricane Irma has been saved thanks to the quick thinking and responsible actions of a local history buff. Freelance photographer and history enthusiast Randy “Shots” Lathrop spotted a cypress log on the banks of the Indian River on Monday, September 11st. A less keen eye would have dismissed it as just another piece of arboreal debris littering the shores of the river thanks to Irma’s destructive power, but Lathrop noticed its carved interior and prow and recognized it as a dugout canoe.

He took a picture and sent it to an archaeologist friend who confirmed that it appeared to be a canoe. Lathrop immediately reported the find to the Florida Division of Historical Resources, as required by law, but with all the havoc wreaked by the hurricane the FDHR, the state archaeologist wasn’t going to be able to inspect the canoe right away. Meanwhile, county workers were clearing the area of debris. Lathrop was concerned that they would mistake it for a log, toss it in the truck and put in a landfill before the archaeologist had a chance to see it. He secured permission from the FDHR to move it to safety.

That was easier said than done, however. The canoe weighs close to 700 pounds, and is saturated with water from having been at the bottom of a river for years or even centuries. He enlisted the aid of a friend with a truck and the two of them managed with difficulty to heft the artifact onto the bed. They transported it to a nearby freshwater pond and submerged it to keep the wood from drying out and to keep hurricane debris collectors from disposing of it.

Three days later, the FDHR dispatched a regional archaeologist from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to examine the canoe. He wasn’t comfortable identifying its makers or date based solely on the preliminary investigation, but the possibilities are intriguing. This is an unusual piece.

The 15-foot-long canoe could be anywhere from several decades to several hundred years old, according to Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman with the department. Carbon dating will help to narrow down the boat’s age. […]

The canoe has a squared off form, which Revell said is commonly seen in the historic period (from 1513 to about 50 years ago in Florida), but there are several uncommon features on it too: compartments, square nails and what appears to be a seat.

“The compartments are a bit out of the ordinary,” she said. “The square nails are cut nails. Cut nails were first in production in the early 19th century so that helps to indicate it is a historic canoe.”

Lathrop noted that there are visible remains of red and white paint, colors traditionally used by the Seminole people to paint canoes (among other things).

The canoe is now being conserved in a water bath. There are no specific plans for its ultimate disposition at this juncture, but the buzz is it will stay in Brevard County where it will go on public display once it has been stabilized.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History